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post #636 of Old 03-07-2013
Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Re: Full or fin keel?

Originally Posted by Lou452 View Post
What seems to be an issue is heaving to and coming back up if capsized. I have found so far the books look to favor full keels narrow beams ? Fin keels do not look after themself or forgive the sailer that is beyond his endurance limit needing sleep food and warmth ? Does a fin keel need more skill and crew to be safe?
You bring up three separate issues each of which could be discussed at length.,
1. Heaving-to -- it is relatively easy to heave-to with most boats. The tricky bit is heave-to with little or no forereaching. We heave to from time to time but typically fore-reach at 1 to 1.5 knots which moves us out of the slick that you create by sliding to leeward. The whole idea in the Pardeys' book of using a parachute sea anchor at an acute angle to the bow is to stop the forereaching. We have all that gear and even had it rigged on the cabin sole behind the table on the way from Mauritius to South Africa last year but did not even think about using it. BTW, all that gear is not cheap, for our boat probably close to $2500.
2. Capsize recovery -- Everything being equal (and it rarely is) a narrower boat recovers better than a wider boat. Most full keel boats are narrower, often much narrower, than most fin keel boats and hence should recover more quickly. But, if beam is equal, a fin keel with a bulb should recover better since the righting moment is greater (again everything being equal).
3. Comfort - To my mind, comfort has two parts. One is typical heel angle. I sailed on a friend's Alberg 37 and really did not enjoy it since we were so far over on our ear the whole time. I guess you get used to it but it was not for me. Our Bristol basically rarely heels to 20 degrees even when it is honking. The other consideration is how the boat moves in the waves. Heavier boats tend to move in a more controlled way which I find less tiring.

A final boat about comfort and safety. If you can make a passage in 10 days rather than 12 days that means there are two days when you don't have to worry about safety and comfort.

After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.
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